A crazy new wildlife photo captured the moment a snake eel burst out of a heron’s stomach while it flew through the air unfazed.
The photo has many recalling the famously gruesome scene from director Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien. In the gory scene, an alien bursts through the chest of one of the ship’s crew members. Now, it’s as if nature has recreated the dramatic scene.
Amateur photographer Sam Davis, 58, captured the once in a lifetime shot while in Delaware. His pictures show the snake eel hanging from the bird’s side as it continues to soar through the sky as if nothing happened, reported Live Science.
“The heron didn’t seem to act much differently,” said Davis. “It was in the water and flying around.”
Once Davis returned home to Maryland and edited the photos, he realized that the snake eel wasn’t biting the heron.
“I could see the eel, you could see its eyes,” Davis said, after enlarging the photos. “It was actually coming out the other end.”
Afterward, Davis said he saw multiple eagles and a fox following the heron close to the shoreline. The animals were likely waiting to see if the heron or eel died so they could scavenge an easy dinner.
Photo Baffles Expert, Calls It a ‘Pretty Amazing Sight’
Supposedly, this isn’t as strange of an occurrence as it may seem. In fact, snake eels are equipped with a tail that has a pointed tip at the end. Additionally, it allows them to attempt daring escapes when needed by cutting open a predator’s stomach when they become prey. But, under normal circumstances, their tails are generally used for digging.
Even so, some experts have called the crazy encounter strange, especially within bird species.
“I would think this is either very rare or very rarely seen in a bird species. At least as far as I am aware,” explained John Pogonoski, an ichthyologist with the Australian National Fish Collection. Pogonoski called the encounter “a pretty amazing sight.”
Davis shared further details about the photo. He captured the wildlife encounter from more than 225 feet away with a telephoto lens. Davis shared the wild photo on his Instagram account calling it his favorite picture of all time.
Davis was not able to follow the action until the end, so he said he isn’t sure what happened to either creature. Also, it is not known if either animal survived.
However, according to Pogonoski, “the heron possibly survived. It didn’t look too inconvenienced, but it would depend on how well the wound healed and if it was able to avoid an infection.”
On the other hand, he sounded less optimistic about the snake eel’s chances of survival.
“It would only have survived if it was dropped over or very close to water with a salinity it could normally tolerate,” Pogonoski said.